A private student loan is a credit-based education loan, made in the student’s name. Private student loans can be used to pay for education expenses such as tuition, room and board, books, student travel, lab fees, a computer, etc.
Before taking out a private student loan, you’ll want to maximize free money (scholarships, grants) and federal student loans. See our Financial Aid Overview for more information.
Most students will be required to add a credit-worthy cosigner to their application in order to be approved for a private student loan. As a student, you probably have not had time to build a good credit history, and you may not have significant monthly income.
Private student loans generally have variable interest rates, so your rate can change monthly or quarterly. When your interest rate changes, you may also see a change in your monthly payment. Your private loan’s interest rate and fees will be determined by your credit score, and that of your cosigner.
As part of the application process, your lender will likely contact your school to verify your information. The lender is asking your school to certify that you are actually enrolled and that you have requested the right amount of money. If you have asked for more than your school’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you received, your school may certify a lower loan amount than you requested. In this case, you’ll need to work with your school’s financial aid office to justify your additional expenses, and see if they will allow you to increase your loan amount.